The Compost – State-wide Professional Development for Rural Advisors project, awarded $210,000 in funding through the NSW Environmental Protection Agency's 'Waste Less, Recycle More' Organics Market Development (OMD) grants scheme, will be managed by Sydney-based organics and compost industry experts MRA Consulting Group and Fertcare® with support from the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA).
Fertcare, a joint initiative of agribusiness trade body Fertilizer Australia and the Australian Fertiliser Services Association (AFSA), provides training and accreditation for agronomists advising farmers and producers.
The MRA says the collaborative project aims to develop a "one-stop shop" for farmers, sales staff and advisors across regional NSW, to disseminate information about the potential productivity gains and environmental benefits of using compost and connect producers with suitable suppliers.
The project goals
The Compost – State-wide Professional Development for Rural Advisors project aims to expand the market for recycled organics across NSW via:
- training and providing advisory resources to rural advisors on the characteristics, impacts and benefits of composts on agricultural production;
- facilitating the development of business arrangements between producers and agribusinesses that encourage on-selling of compost by advisory services; and
- initiating communication between Recycled Organics Industry and Fertilizer Australia, with the aim of fostering business relationships that increase sales of recycled organics into broadacre agriculture.
According to MRA, one of the key goals of the project is to ensure that farmers across NSW who want to use compost to complement mineral fertilisers are able to access it through conventional rural retail outlets.
Companies such as Elders, Landmark and CRT will be engaged under the program, which will provide information and establish sales incentives for rural agents to promote compost sales,
“We believe that the project will expand the marketing and use of recycled organic products across NSW,” said Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) Executive Officer Peter McLean.
Upcoming workshops and events
The official project launch will take place on Wednesday 17 February 2016 at a free two-hour breakfast seminar-workshop at the University of Western Sydney's Hawkesbury Campus in Richmond, NSW.
A series of workshops to be held in coming months at 10 locations across NSW, covering the North Coast, Northern Tablelands, Central Coast/Hunter, South East, North West, Central West, Central Tablelands, Riverina and Murray regions, will offer training for advisors.
Other events will bring together producers and local agribusinesses, providing opportunities for them to develop mutually beneficial business relationships.
“The idea is that over time, once advisors are equipped with skills and knowledge about composts and have access to supply, they will act as additional sales and advisory services to your businesses,” explains MRA’s Principal Consultant – Organics, Virginia Brunton. “It is hoped that gradually, the agronomic support for compost use will become embedded into normal advisory services.
“We believe the project has long-term benefits for the whole of the compost industry.”
For further information about the project, contact Garry Kimble, NSW Secretary, AORA; Virginia Brunton, Principal Consultant – Organics at MRA Consulting on 0438 496 834 or Ferticare’s Jeff Kraak on 0407 663 535.